In 2009, Sid Lee Architecture was hired to create the architectural designs for the Bota Bota floating spa (total surface of 3150 m2), thereby providing a third incarnation of a former ferryboat.

This brief held two challenges. First, our teams needed to adapt with talents from various fields of expertise to work together effectively. Second, the very nature of the steel boat was going to have a constraining effect on material choice.


To successfully complete the ship's third incarnation, our teams decided to immerse visitors into a multisensory world inspired by the aquatic environment, the maritime world, the ship's rich history and the surrounding Montréal landscape.


Our program recreated an environment reminiscent of an ocean liner voyage contemplating the Montreal skyline and the St. Lawrence River. The ship seemed to be floating in the timeless space of the river: this sense of infinity permeated through the ship's interior, creating a world of materiality, ambiance and color. Consequently, moving through these sea-inspired spaces became a journey of discovery for the senses and provided a temporary escape from the outside world.

The uniqueness and synergy of the project were successfully obtained by mingling disciplines: building and naval architecture, interior, industrial and graphic design, as well as building and naval engineering. This mingling was necessary to tackle the technical and technological challenges, such as integrating structures that are usually found on solid ground.

The project was completed in November 2010.


Soon after its introduction, Bota Bota surpassed initial expectations: it caught the attention of a variety of fields ranging from leisure, design and architecture to spa guides and tourism. Consequently, the buzz generated by its launch attracted both Montréalers and tourists from around the world.

Bota Bota received a world-renowned design gold lion in Cannes, and also received numerous local prizes.

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